Hollow Ichigo (Horō Ichigo), also referred to as Ichigo’s inner hollow, or more appropriately The Hollow Within Ichigo’s Conscience, is a powerful spirit that was born when Ichigo Kurosaki underwent training with Kisuke Urahara to regain his shinigami powers. His relationship with Ichigo represents the idiom “two sides of the same coin,” or (more appropriately) the philosophical concept of yin and yang. Unlike other hollows, who are the central villains of Bleach, Hollow Ichigo plays the role of the anti-hero who eventually becomes Ichigo’s greatest obstacle and ally as the plot progresses.
Hollow Ichigo, other than having the same physique as Ichigo, has several distinct physical features that easily set him and Ichigo apart. Within Ichigo’s conscience, Hollow Ichigo has white hair, extremely pale skin, and yellow eyes with black scleras.
Conversely to Ichigo, he wears a white and black shihakusho with a black cord, as opposed to black and white with a red cord, which together with his physical features has earned him the nickname Shirosaki among fans of the Bleach series, as opposed to Kurosaki (shiro translates to white and kuro to black).
When he controls Ichigo’s soul, Hollow Ichigo still appears as Ichigo only with yellow eyes and black scleras. Additionally, a hollow mask will begin to manifest which continues to develop for as long as he remains in control until Ichigo appears as a full bodied hollow.
Hollow Ichigo comes across as a very sadistic person with an insatiable appetite for battle, much like Kenpachi Zaraki. During combat, he often grins and laughs maniacally. Hollow Ichigo also likes to talk sarcastically and make witty remarks.
Though he and Ichigo reside in the same soul, he refers to him as “king,” as Ichigo is the dominant person. Typically, he made it is goal to “devour” Ichigo and control his soul permanently. Although he considers Ichigo a formidable adversary,
Hollow Ichigo has saved Ichigo from near death on several occasions directly or indirectly. Nevertheless, on occasions where he temporarily assumes control of Ichigo’s soul, he merely treats the situations as opportunities to fight and enjoy himself while taunting Ichigo for his incompetence in combat.
Hollow Ichigo has also acted as Ichigo’s mentor in some circumstances, much like Zangetsu, though his methods are brutal, unfriendly, and backed by his ulterior motive of eliminating Ichigo.
As Hollow Ichigo increases in power, his presence within Ichigo becomes increasingly stronger and difficult to suppress. This becomes evident in Ichigo’s fight with tenth Espada Yammy Riyalgo, where Hollow Ichigo attempted to assume control of Ichigo’s soul though Ichigo fervently resisted.
However, this conflict caused the paralysis of his body, therefore giving Yammy the opportunity to beat Ichigo senseless. Later on at the conclusion of Ichigo’s fight with sixth Espada Grimmjow Jaegerjaques, Hollow Ichigo once again began to encroach on Ichigo’s soul after Ichigo fired a Getsuga Tenshō in bankai. Fortunately for him, Grimmjow was forced to return to Hueco Mundo when Kaname Tōsen made an unexpected, timely arrival.
Hollow Ichigo’s next appearance is back inside Ichigo’s conscience, where he confronts Ichigo who is seeking to permanently suppress him. Before their fight ensues, Ichigo notices Zangetsu’s absence and angrily questions Hollow Ichigo of his whereabouts.
Smirking, Hollow Ichigo wittily replies with a question asking whether Ichigo is speaking of the Zangetsu on his back or the one he is holding in his hand, revealing a white Zangetsu. Then as he charges toward Ichigo, he directly answers Ichigo’s question declaring that he himself is Zangetsu.